I came across this great collection of linguistic maps of the US. They are just fascinating.
So I thought I’d answer the same questions for Australia. And by “Australia”, I of course mean “me”. (Other Australians, particularly from outside my Christian bubble in the North Shore bubble in the Sydney bubble, please feel free to correct me!)
What is your generic term for a sweetened carbonated beverage?
What do you call the miniature lobster that one finds in lakes and streams for example (a crustacean of the family Astacidae)?
Seriously, what are they even talking about? I have no words for this mini lobster. (Why would you want mini lobsters anyway? We already have The Big Lobster. Mini lobsters must be for wimps.)
What do you call a traffic situation in which several roads meet in a circle and you have to get off at a certain point?
That’s right Utah, it’s a roundabout. (Though what happened to the Dakotas? (As I’m told the cool kids call them.) Are there no “several roads meeting in a circle”?)
What do you call the thing from which you might drink water in a school?
I had no idea Australia had so much in common with east Wisconsin or Rhode Island! (I had to look both of those states up…)
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
Most of America doesn’t have the word “sunshower”? How do they describe those beautiful late showers like makes the rain look like fairy dust? It makes me sad.
Far more worrying though is that one of the answers is “the devil is beating his wife”. Just let that sink in… “the devil is beating his wife.” Alabama, what were you thinking?
Can you call coleslaw “slaw”?
To be honest, I’m a bit worried that most of America thinks you can’t call Coleslaw “slaw”. I mean, I could understand if they thought you shouldn’t, but that you can’t? I think their underestimate their powers.
What do you call a drive-through liquor store?
The answer is, of course, “[insert crude joke implying endemic alcoholism here.]”
How do you pronounce Mary/merry/marry?
Surely they are all different! Mary is Mair-y, merry is me-rry, and marry is ma-rry.
So what can we learn from this? Well, I’ve learnt that Australia has an unexpected affinity with Utah, Wisconsion and Rhode Island. This, I assume, can only be good news.
And perhaps the next time someone suggests that Australia is becoming too “Americanised”, y’all can tell them about the brew-thru on the rotary you went to when the devil was beating his wife, which has the best crawdad and slaw.